Yule may have been one of the earliest winter celebrations of the solstice, or shortest day of the year. It was particularly celebrated by Germanic peoples. It celebrates light and the rebirth of the sun. Norsemen in particular were hunters who relied on knowledge and timing of the different seasons. They saw the year as a wheel, or houl (perhaps the origin of the word “yule”).
Original celebrations of Yule may have been connected to The Wild Hunt, or a great chase led by a mythological creature or a procession of ghostly beings through the winter sky Feasting, drinking, lighting candles, and even sacrifice were common. When it was later Christianized, traditions like a Yule log, Yule goat, and Yule singing began. Decorating with greenery is also common. Light remains very important, with candles, twinkle lights, bonfires, and more.
Some other common Yule rituals include an alter to ancestors to reflect on the past year and move forward into the next, cleansing rituals, and saying prayers to welcome back the sun.